I now know of at least two places that are hot spots of Eritrean food in America: suburbs of D.C. and Columbus Ohio. I wouldn’t consider Vermont on the hot spot list. Hence, making our own.
Eritrean cuisine combines Ethiopian and Italian food traditions. There is this article from Washington City Paper that seems to be the basis of much of Wikipedia’s information (if anyone knows about Eritrean cuisine, I recommend going to Wikipedia and adding more details to what they currently have). I confess that the article, plus reading menus from Eritrean restaurants mentioned in the article, then looking up the recipes, constitutes my knowledge of the region. It’s more than previously. It’s more than I can say about my knowledge of the broader cuisine of Columbus Ohio, so there we go.
If you have got a tin of berbere spice, and think ahead three days to start the Injera, then you’ve got the basis for cooking up a feast. You’ll discover ga’at porridge which looked boring and did not taste boring (in a good way).
- Injera (of course) – I cheated a bit and put in 1 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp salt & 1/2 tsp baking soda for cup of flour to add more bubbles right before cooking. Also, because I was preparing a large batch for a party, I baked it for 5-10 minutes in a 400-degree oven on small rimmed baking sheets.
- Tilapia wrapped in Injera with Spicy Aioli
- Tsebhi Dehro (chicken stew) – Scroll down the linked page and you’ll find the recipe. Perhaps you’ll decide to try one of the other stews listed there instead.
- Zigni Pasta (pasta with berbere spiced sauce) – See recipe below
- Beyaynetu (Vegetarian Platter) – I used
- Shiro – Cooked chick pea flour spread. Perhaps not my new favorite dish, but other people liked it.
- Mushroom Sautee – I used the garam masala substitute for berbere, for a little variety
- Collard Greens
- Red Lentils & Peanuts – I made a flavorful broth, cooked red lentils in it, added hot sauce and berbere, then added chopped peanuts.
- Tegelese Tesmi (seasoned butter), Yogurt, and Ga’at (porridge) – I used this recipe for Ga’at but replaced 2/3 of the cornmeal with barley flour. Because I had a lot of people and wasn’t going to make the butter wells for everyone, I then put the porridge in a baking dish, put it in the 350-degree oven and poured unsieved tegelese tesmi on top (1/2 stick butter, cooked with 1 Tb water, finely minced garlic clove, 3 tb minced red onion, about 1.5 tsp minced ginger), then sprinkled generous berbere on top. With the yogurt, it’s really delicious.
- Mead – As close as we had to Tej
- Platter of fruit, dried fruit, nuts, chocolate covered ginger – sweet little nibble-y things.
Zigni Pasta Sauce – Slow Cooker method
1 onion, diced
1 frying pepper (spicy not bell pepper), diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup cream
2 Tbsp Berbere spice
In a large saucepan, brown the beef. Just browned – it will continue to cook in the stew. Transfer meat to a slow cooker.
Now in the pan (which should be greased from the meat – if it’s a huge amount of liquid, pour a little out), cook the vegetables until onions are just translucent. Add to slow cooker. Used a rubber spatula to be sure you get everything.
Add remaining ingredients. Stir. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours. Check for heat (add red pepper flakes if needed) and saltiness before serving.